The Poet’s Eye has a tear of joy on this hot July afternoon. The Casey Anthony trial has come to its jaw-dropping conclusion and not only has our crippled criminal justice system limped across another symbolic finish line, but now the endless and tawdry cable news coverage of the trial will at last be over hopefully leaving some air-time for real or consequential actual news.
It has always been hard for me to understand the fascination that we as a nation have for reality soap operas such as the Anthony case. This one has a number of the key ingredients which always seem to produce this type of high drama. The murder or kidnapping or abuse of an attractive young white girl is almost guaranteed a lavish amount of air-time. Add a few other salacious details such as accusations of sexual abuse or incest and we have the perfect recipe for a summer mini-series. The only thing possibly missing was the involvement of a celebrity, but if Casey Anthony or nobody else involved was a celebrity at the beginning of this set-piece, they certainly are now. We have a whole cast of potential stars or supporting players. Do I smell a Reality TV Show?
What is even more embarrassing than watching the nearly three year spectacle unfold is the public reaction to the jury’s unlikely but profound verdict. Like a chorus of scolding old women, the fans of the drama wanted more than anything to see Ms. Anthony in stocks outside the courthouse. With the help of shundits like the ever witchly Nancy Grace, Casey was convicted in the media months ago and this writer has never seen such a pile-on of bored sanctimony as has been exhibited in the tabloid media. I’m ashamed as an American to watch our justice system utterly reduced to moralistic entertainment the way that it has.
If there are any heroes in this rather sad tale of family pathology they come in the form of the jury. These twelve citizens good and true rose above the clatter of media whoredom and courtroom posturing and remained true to the just principles of our system and demanded facts and proof over innuendo and slanderous character assassination in determining their verdict. The Poet’s Eye watched with admiration as the members of the jury to a man declined to attend the media post-mortem of the trial to which they were invited. Good on them and shame on the media and the mob for trying to do justice like gossip over the backyard fence.
The truth about the facts of this unfortunate case will almost certainly never be known. This is partly responsible for what a blank check of a media plaything the whole story has become. But no matter how big a slut that Nancy DisGrace thinks that Casey Anthony is, the facts as presented by the prosecution came nowhere close to proving up murder in this case and absent that the verdict is exactly what it should have been. People will inevitably compare this drama to the OJ Simpson affair, but they are not even in the same arena. The OJ case was probably a more genuaine miscarriage of justice purchased by slick lawyering and while there will be those who assume that Casey Anthony got away with murder too, the facts as presented at trial didn’t warrant a murder conviction and the real tragedy would have been if we had put her to death and laid her alongside her unfortunate and lovely young daughter thereby doubling the number of unjust deaths.
The Poet’s Eye now expects to see the fun really begin courtesy of Casey Anthony. One must wonder how much some adventurous publisher will pay for a book entitled ‘This Is What Really Happened’ by Casey Anthony. She has already proved herself a prolific author of fiction. After we get tired of the first book or it is debunked, she can write ‘No, Really. What Really Happened.’ Then ‘This Is The Truth About What Really Really Happened’ and so forth. Whatever becomes of Ms. Anthony it is good to see that the cornerstone of American Justice ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ is still firmly in place and for as much fun as we have with tabloid jurisprudence we don’t decide guilt on the basis of gossip. Yet.
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”Oscar Wilde